The Lady of None

By Shahana Nair Joshi

Aung San Suu Kyi— a leader whose name once evoked emotions of hope, inspiration and resilience and who was once a symbol of democracy and championed the need for an equitable power dynamic in the world— now lives under harsh criticism for maintaining a jarring silence over the alleged genocide that is rampantly taking place in her country. Criticism against her has been pouring in from all corners of the world, including from her fellow Nobel laureates. Most recently she was stripped of her “Freedom of Oxford’ title granted to her by the Oxford Council and the ‘Freedom of Dublin City’ award bestowed upon her by the Dublin City Council. While these reactions may seem obvious in the face of what seems like a leader’s apathy in the face of a humanitarian crisis, it is important to also understand the context within which the role Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto head of state, is defined. Continue reading “The Lady of None”

The Trouble with Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian agencies are an important international response mechanism to conflicts worldwide. The broad purpose of aid organisations is to relieve the suffering of victims, a worthy goal that may in theory sound simple enough but in practice can prove extremely complicated. Many conflicts are driven by years, perhaps decades, of tensions, and understanding the nuances of each situation is key in enabling an effective response. Similarly, disaster zones can give rise to complicated dynamics within the affected community and between locals and aid workers arriving from outside. As a result, humanitarian efforts need to be well-organised and carefully targeted towards the specific crisis, but with a multiplicity of actors this can be difficult to achieve. Continue reading “The Trouble with Humanitarian Aid”

Beyond GDP

“Gross Domestic Product measures everything, except that which makes life worthwhile”;
this was the concluding sentence of Robert Kennedy’s speech at the University of Kansas on March 18th, 1968, a statement embodying debates regarding the dominant use of this index to measure and direct wealth and development globally. Continue reading “Beyond GDP”

Legal Framework of Children’s Rights in India: Reflections from Fieldwork

Children are the future of each nation, so it therefore follows that it is essential for each government to protect and to uphold children’s rights. Three main areas of children’s rights include: food and nutrition, protection from violence and abuse, and education. According to the Indian Constitution and certain Supreme Court orders and Acts of the Parliament, children are entitled to several rights under these categories. While working with the MV Foundation, a child rights organization based in India, I had the opportunity to talk to several girls taken out of child labour and placed into a transitional academics residential camp before entering public school. I found that while several programmes such as ration shops and mid-day meals at school seem to work relatively efficiently, others – on which I will focus in this post, require more government attention. Therefore, it became increasingly apparent that there was a stark difference between the laws in place to protect the rights of children and their actual implementation. Continue reading “Legal Framework of Children’s Rights in India: Reflections from Fieldwork”

Should Aung San Suu Kyi be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize?

Aung San Suu Kyi is known across the world as a devoted pro-democracy fighter and a beacon of perseverant light against autocracy. However, in recent months, global leaders and media have become particularly concerned about her response towards the persecution of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority. The UN has called the situation akin to ethnic cleansing, a claim which has been refuted by Aung San Suu Kyi. Baffled by her silence and refusal to condemn the crimes against the Rohingya, numerous people, including many of her fellow Nobel laureates, have appealed for her to speak for the Rohingya and stand up against the violence targeted towards them.  There have even been calls to remove her Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for her decades-long stance against military dictatorship in Myanmar. Continue reading “Should Aung San Suu Kyi be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize?”

Vietnamese Fishermen of Quang Ngai Province Attacked in the Paracel Islands by China: 3 Boats Sunk

This is a translation by Oxford Omnia of an article by Minh Hoàng on the Vietnamese news site of, originally published in Vietnamese on August 24, 2017.

Rescuers tow sunk Vietnamese fishing boat to land in 2014. Photo: Minh Hoang.

Over the last three months, 21 fishing boats with 136 fishermen of Quang Ngai who were fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in Hoang Sa [the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea], have continuously been chased and attacked. Continue reading “Vietnamese Fishermen of Quang Ngai Province Attacked in the Paracel Islands by China: 3 Boats Sunk”